vacation 1999

During the second week in August, Alison and John ventured forth and north in California. One goal of this trip was to catch the annual Perseid meteor shower ... one of the biggest shows during earth's yearly orbit, and especially promising this year, since it coincided with a new moon. So we wanted to find somewhere with clear night skies, free from the foggy overcast and city lights of the Bay Area.

But the la Niña weather was not totally with us. We had highly unseasonal rain for two days, and thunderstorms on others. But we did get one good night to watch those little pieces of comet ice vaporize in the upper atmosphere. And the scenery during the daytime wasn't bad, either.

Castle Crags

The Castle Crags from within Castle Crags State Park in Northern California. These are granite spires, left over from liquid rock pushing upward through sedimentary layers, which have since eroded away.

at our campsite

Alison relaxing at our campsite in the State Park. Note the 1/4" steel-plate bear-proof food locker behind her. The experimental bear-proofing policy here is working ... campers are trained to keep tidy sites. And after two years, there are not only no pan-handling bears, but also no deer, raccoons, squirrels, jays, or yellowjackets looking for a handout. Though one can still see wildlife, but dining on local, natural foodstuffs.


Alison sitting alongside a very pretty stretch of Root Creek, which originates on the eastern slopes of the Crags, and empties into the Sacramento River.

Mt. Shasta #1

John (in the distance, wearing a red T-shirt) at about 7800' on Mt. Shasta. Shasta is a dormant, but still active, volcano in the southern-most part of the Cascade Range, which stretches from northern California, and into Canada.

Mt. Shasta #2

Alison among the alpine flora at about 7800' on Mt. Shasta. Even in August, it's quite cold up here, and the wind is blowing 30-40 mph, so only the hardiest of plant life make a living here.

Mt. Shasta #3

Alison (in the distance) at an alpine meadow at about 6000' on Mt. Shasta. The climate is mellower here, so the plantlife is more abundant. There is a great deal of penstemon, so the hummingbirds are in party mode.

MacArthur-Burney Falls

MacArthur - Burney Falls at the State Park. This is about an hour east of Mt. Shasta. A very picturesque and therefore popular spot, so we were unable to get a reservation. We did make a day-trip out there, though.

Alison & John at the falls

Alison and John on the stairway leading down to the falls.